Grand Lake Lodge, rich in history

Much of the history of Grand Lake, Colorado, is taken from western classics. There were warring Native American tribes, French trappers seeking valuable furs, a famous explorer, mining booms, and even a bloody shootout. By turn of the century wealthy westerners had discovered the area and, in an era when every item had to be hauled in by wagon or stagecoach, they began spending colossal sums on lavish lakeside retreats. Some even had boats wrested up the rough mountain roads. In 1902, those vacationing movers and shakers registered the world’s highest yacht club (at 8,369 ft) and launched a spirited high-altitude Regatta that is held every August to this day.

The ruggedly beautiful vistas from the Lodge, in Grand Lake, Colorado are the kind that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “The Great Outdoors”. More than a hundred mountain peaks soar over 10,000 feet to shadow picturesque glacial valleys. Crisp pine-scented mountain air refreshes the spirit. Bear, moose, mule deer, fox, and cougars freely roam through tall forests and fish jump from the state’s largest natural lake and flash in the sunlight. It is land so extraordinary that, just after the turn of the century, the federal government set aside more than four hundred square miles of it to create Rocky Mountain National Park, thus protecting it from development forever. Grand Lake, at the park’s western entrance, is sometimes called its “ front porch”.

In 1919 a visionary entrepreneur, Roe Emery, hoping to profit from the park’s burgeoning crowds of tourists, built a system of strategically placed resorts in a easily traveled loop throughout the central Rockies. The rustic, but elegant Lodge, and more than other 100 cabins and outbuildings, were constructed of native lodgepole pine on a wooded overlooking the lake and Middle Park Valley and furnished with high quality Native American rugs, wicker furniture, and taxidermy. A circular stone fireplace provided a cozy gathering place for guests. Emery successfully operated the resort for three decades.

The current owners, the James family, acquired the 54 acre property in 1953 and have operated since, through four generations. They’ve added amenities and undated during their stewardship, but always without detracting from the Lodge’s original character. In fact, the Lodge is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. There has always been fishing and hiking, but now there is a hot tub to relax in too. Early guests could watch the wild life and view the mountain vistas, but now they may do it from a heated swimming pool. The stables were part of the original resort, but now there are also 5 golf courses and 4 ski resorts in the area for a change of pace. The boating on the lake has a history more than a century long, but now there is also white water rafting and hot air ballooning. The real emphasis remains, and always will remain however, on the great outdoors and the park that surrounds the Lodge on three sides. Today, this iconic and historic property is available for the first time in many decades. Many possibilities remain for further resort or potential residential development. For further information contact Scott Franklund, at Legendary Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, 1225 Ken Pratt Blvd, Suite #121, Longmont, CO Phone: 303-443-6161. For additional information about the history of Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake Lodge read A Quick History of Grand Lake by Michael Geary.
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